The Breathtaking Shots of the P.G.A. Champion Gary Player

He won the P.G.A. Championship twice and his 150-yard shot in 1972 is still talked about. But Player said he was proudest of one he hit at the 1968 British Open.

Gary Player of South Africa, a nine-time major winner, captured the P.G.A. Championship in 1962 and 1972 and made an impressive run for a third crown in 1984 at age 48, finishing second to Lee Trevino.

In 1972, at Oakland Hills Country Club outside Detroit, Player rebounded from bogeys at 14 and 15 to pull off one of the more memorable shots in tournament history: a 9-iron approach on No. 16 from about 150 yards that went over trees and a lake to within about four feet of the pin. He converted the birdie putt and went on to prevail by two strokes.

With this year’s event beginning on Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., Player, 88, recently reflected on what the P.G.A. meant to him.

The following conversation has been edited and condensed.

Was the shot at 16 the greatest one you ever hit?

No. The greatest shot I ever hit was in the [1968] British Open [at Carnoustie in Scotland.] The wind’s blowing like crazy and I’m playing with Jack Nicklaus. I take the 3-wood [on No. 14] and hit it inches from the hole.

Another one was the second shot on 17 in the 1974 Masters?

My caddie said to me when I arrived [at the ball], “I need a roof on my house.” I said, “We’re going to get you a roof this week.” As I hit the 9-iron, I just took the club and gently tossed it towards that bag and said, “We’re not even going to need a putter.” It was inches behind the hole.

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Source: Golf -


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